Tornado Aftermath: Reaching Out to Help Harrisburg

A 400-mile trip to help people in Harrisburg, Illinois.


By Bob Weissman (Member of The Friendship Force of Northern Illinois) 

March 5, 2012

Having been bombarded on CNN for two days by reports of tornadoes and severe weather, I felt urged to go to the location, Harrisburg, Ill., this past weekend to help.

Harrisburg is a small town about 400 miles south of Lake County, Illinois.  It is mostly residential with only the minimal shopping and service businesses.

There were more than 1,000 volunteers from many parts of the country who came to help on Saturday (March 3). Some brought their own equipment. I spent about three hours in a farmer’s field picking up shingles, shards of glass and various kinds of lumber and pieces of metal which had been carried for miles by the wind from the areas of destruction.

The west end of Harrisburg was in ruins. A building near Wal-Mart was completely destroyed while part of the bank was a pile of debris. The residential area suffered the most damage, although its severity ran the gamut from complete destruction to the loss of a few shingles. An obvious problem was the loss of trees which were strewn over almost every property across several square blocks.

Of course, the worst part of this disaster was the loss of life -- six people were killed. I did not have an opportunity to talk with any of the folks living in the areas, which were severely damaged.               

I did not enjoy the experience, but it was worthwhile.  I am glad that I went to help the folks in need.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jean C Wilson March 14, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Thank you, Bob Weissman for submitting this article. I was shocked that FEMA denied aid to this area. The ruling has been appealed and I hope that the govenment will amend their ruling. Jean C. Wilson
Deadcatbounce March 14, 2012 at 06:45 PM
The agency also denied requests for aid from Ohio and Missouri. Kind of absurd when more of your taxpayer money gets sent to places like Pakistan and Afghanistan


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